Educational triage in open distance learning: Walking a moral tightrope


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Presentation by Paul Prinsloo (Unisa) and Sharon Slade (OU) at EDEN2014

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Educational triage in open distance learning: Walking a moral tightrope

  1. 1. Paul Prinsloo, University of South Africa Sharon Slade, Open University
  2. 2. OVERVIEW OF THE PRESENTATION 1. Acknowledgements 2. The changing context of higher education 3. How do we make moral decisions when resources are (increasingly) limited? 4. Using student data to make more informed decisions 5. Triage – its history and use in education 6. Principles for the moral use of student data
  3. 3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS • All the images used in this presentation have been sourced from Google labeled for non-commercial reuse. The links are provided at the end of the presentation • A reworked version of this paper has been accepted for publication in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), (Prinsloo & Slade, 2014)
  4. 4. Disaggregation Disruption Doing more with less Higher education Innovation Unmooring Student debt Revolution Funding cuts Tsunami Unbundling Privatisation Crisis
  5. 5. Higher education should… • Do more with less • Expect funding to follow performance rather than preceding it • Realise it costs too much, spends carelessly, teach poorly, plan myopically, and when questioned, act defensively (Hartley, 1995, p. 412, 861) HIGHER EDUCATION AS RISKY BUSINESS…
  6. 6. The $ of student failure and dropout
  7. 7. How do we make moral decisions when resources are (increasingly) limited?
  9. 9. Triage: Balancing between the futility or impact of the intervention juxtaposed with the number of patients requiring care, the scope of care required, and the resources available for care/interventions
  10. 10. FOUR MORAL PRINCIPLES GUIDING MEDICAL TRIAGE 1. Respect patient autonomy 2. Beneficence 3. Non-maleficence 4. Justice – care not determined by privilege, status, race, gender (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001)
  11. 11. BEYOND JUSTICE • Transparency • Stakeholder acceptance of rationale • Mechanism for appeals or challenges • Oversight (Joynt & Gomersall, 2005)
  12. 12. Learning analytics as …
  13. 13. “Are students walking around with invisible triage tags attached, that only lecturers can see? Is this fair? Or is it just pragmatic? Like battlefield medical attention, lecturers’ attention is finite. And as class sizes and workloads increase, it is becoming scarcer” (Manning, 2012, par. 3)
  14. 14. How do we make moral decisions when resources are (increasingly) limited?
  15. 15. FOUR PRINCIPLES TO GUIDE DECISIONS WHEN RESOURCES ARE INCREASINGLY LIMITED 1. Student and institutional autonomy are situated and bounded 2. Beneficence – in the best interest of the student. No access without success 3. Non-maleficence and transparency 4. Distributive justice
  16. 16. WALKING A MORAL TIGHTROPE… • The reality of resource constraints • Higher education cannot afford NOT to use student data • Raw data is an oxymoron • Students’ digital data do not provide the full picture and often lacks context • Our algorithms are not neutral • Student success is the result of mostly non-linear, multidimensional, interdependent interactions at different phases in the nexus between student, institution and broader societal factors • We need to move beyond notions of justice, to an ethics of care. (See Prinsloo, 2009, Prinsloo & Slade, 2014; Slade & Prinsloo, 2013)
  17. 17. THANK YOU Paul Prinsloo Research Professor in Open Distance Learning (ODL) College of Economic and Management Sciences, Office number 3-15, Club 1, Hazelwood, P O Box 392 Unisa, 0003, Republic of South Africa T: +27 (0) 12 433 4719 (office) T: +27 (0) 82 3954 113 (mobile) Skype: paul.prinsloo59 Personal blog: http://opendistanceteachingandlearning Twitter profile: @14prinsp Dr Sharon Slade Senior Lecturer and Regional Manager, Faculty of Business and Law The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom T: +44 (0) 1865 486250 Personal blog: 123496&trk=tab_pro
  18. 18. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF IMAGE SOURCES Title page: Big data: Triage: e_France_WWI.jpg Justice:
  19. 19. Beauchamp T. L., & Childress J.F. (2001). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. (5th ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hartley, D. (1995). The ‘McDonaldisation’ of higher education: food for thought? Oxford Review of Education, 21(4), 409—423. Joynt, G.M., & Gomersall, C.D. (2005). Making moral decisions when resources are limited – an approach to triage in ICY patients with respiratory failure. South African Journal of Critical Care (SAJCC), 21(1), 34—44. Retrieved from Manning, C. (2012, March 14). Educational triage. [Web log post]. Retrieved from Prinsloo, P. (2009). Modelling throughput at Unisa: The key to the successful implementation of ODL. Retrieved from Prinsloo, P., & Slade, S. (2014). Educational triage in open distance learning: walking a moral tightrope. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. In press. Slade, S., & Prinsloo, P. (2013). Learning analytics: ethical issues and dilemmas. American Behavioural Scientist, 57(1) pp. 1509–1528. REFERENCES
  20. 20. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial 4.0 International License.